The Truth Sets The Celtics Free





HANG TIME PLAYOFF HEADQUARTERS – No Rajon Rondo. No Ray Allen. No Problem for the Boston Celtics.

The Celtics didn’t let their lingering issues, Rondo’s one-game suspension for bumping into a referee or Allen’s ankle injury slow them down last night in Atlanta.

It certainly helped that they had the “Tebowing” Truth, Paul Pierce, on their side. And it certainly helped that they had a willing dance partner in the Hawks, a team that’s almost always guaranteed to do exactly what they did last night (over the years, the Hawks have a made a habit of falling down when everything seems to be lined up for them to thrive) in losing home court advantage.

For all of the posturing that goes on and all of the moves coaches make in the course of a playoff series, sometimes the final result hangs on the answer to a simple question … whose will to win is greater?

That edge in this series belongs to the men in green and white, and one in particular.

Pierce showed last night that his is greater than anyone else’s in this series, and that includes the ultra-intense Kevin Garnett, Rondo, Allen, Celtics coach Doc Rivers, Hawks stars Joe Johnson and Josh Smith (who left the game with a sprained left patella tendon with four minutes to play) and anyone else you care to toss into the mix.

The Hawks led by 11 points with three minutes to play in the third quarter, a lead that we’ve learned in the past few days means next to nothing for a home team (ask the Grizzlies) and could not hold Pierce and the Celtics off.

Pierce was already on his way to a monster night by then, he ¬†finished with 36 points and 14 rebounds, but he saved his most critical work for the last 12 minutes. He outscored the Hawks by himself in the final 15 minutes of the game. Time after time he sliced through the heart of the Hawks’ defense for layups or found just enough of a crease on the wing to nail a jumper to help the Celtics take control.

With Pierce as their catalyst on one end and a smothering defensive effort on the other, the Hawks scored a grand total of six points in nine minutes — that’s an eternity in any game, but especially in a home playoff game where the crowed is essentially silenced.

More importantly, the Celtics have winning in tight spots in their DNA. They’ve spent this entire season playing shorthanded in one way or another. So to see Pierce, Garnett and a crew of seasoned pros (Keyon Dooling was huge) and wide-eyed youngsters (like the constantly improving Avery Bradley) who have learned the ways of the league under Rivers is what spelled doom for the Hawks, who might have to play without Smith in Game 3 Friday in Boston.

Dooling broke down the mindset of the Celtics perfectly, explaining to Chris Forsberg of ESPNBoston.com how the machine works:

“We’re professionals,” Dooling said. “Throughout the season, we were in the rotation, out of the rotation, not playing that often. But you focus, you give yourself to the team, you never let yourself get out of shape, never let yourself get in a funk mentally, and stay in tune with the game plan and the schemes. Then when your number is called, you gotta be ready.”

Dooling played a bench-high 21:05, chipping in six of the 14 points the reserves would account for. But it was his uncharacteristically fiery defense — something not often seen during his regular-season minutes — that helped light a fire under his teammates.

Dooling had a little extra motivation as well: atoning for a teammate who had a somewhat unprofessional moment. Rondo missed Tuesday’s game while serving a one-game suspension for bumping a game official. It put the Celtics in a tough position after letting Game 1 slip away Sunday, but players rallied around the notion of winning for the player who wasn’t available Tuesday.

“We said it after the last game, we talked about maybe not having Rondo and being prepared for that moment,” Dooling said. “We did this for him tonight. This is a tribute to Rondo; we got his back.”

Rondo will be back for Game 3. Allen’s still a question mark. That home crowd in Boston will be cranked up and ready to go against a team they love giving the business in the playoffs (that epic 2008 series between the two teams is still fresh on the minds of the Celtics faithful).

Garnett, Dooling, Bradley and the rest of the Celtics’ rugged crew is guaranteed to be ready Friday night, the days of rest doing wonders for the elder members of the team.

As for the Truth … well, he’s already set the Celtics free!


66 Comments

  1. marko adag says:

    let us all be REALISTIC. it’s HEAT and THUNDER in the finals!

  2. Karlo Garcia says:

    I always admired Paul Pierce.

  3. SKILLZ says:

    KEEP PIERCING THE HAWKS………

  4. No way says:

    Celtics are going nowhere,i doubt they r gunna get past the Hawks… Paul pierce is their only scoring option right now and i guarantee he is not gunna score 35 every night

  5. spursalldway says:

    nothings gonna stop the spurs from getting the crown.. sori guyz!!

    • Davon says:

      the SPURS???? Really???……u sound like a good ol boy from Texas who is still a KKK memember…..stop dreamin….T Duncan is 137 years old, and without Parker he’s nothing…….note to idiot…..the Boston Celtics are supreme…..Period…PP34 CLUTCH

  6. Glen says:

    Paul is a great Celtic. I’m really grateful that we have him. Go C’s!

  7. Joaquin says:

    Still, there is NO ONE that can stop the Heat from another Finals trip, only a injuries can do that. Hope none happen though, there are way too many injuries on this playoffs

    • Peter says:

      Why?

      IIRC Boston won the regular season series against Miami 8-2 over the last two seasons. Lebron, Wade and Bosh all have a history of being pounded by the Celtics prior to them joining up in Miami. Boston is a mentally tougher team with more playoff experience and arguably the best defense in the NBA.

      The only possible argument Miami can make is that they defeated Boston in the Playoffs last season, but that was the only time in recent history Miami has shown any type of advantage over the Celtics, and that Boston team never really recovered from the major reshuffle that happened at the trade deadline.

      • Peter says:

        Also dispite what the record says, Boston are a better team this season. Last year they had no end of issues:

        1. Jeff Green was added last minute and never really got a chance to figure the team out
        2. Shaq was out, JO was very limited and Kristic was clumsy and a liability on both ends of the court
        3. Big Baby, Delonte West and Nate Robinson were immature in their own ways, and were all wildly inconsistent
        4. The team never had any real chemistry after the Perkins trade

        This year the C’s have had more then their share of issues, but they they have had the same key guys all season and eveyone knows (and plays) their role. Their bench guys (Dooling, Marquis, Pietrus) may not be explosive scorers, but they are professional and give their 100% effort every night. Bradley’s development has been huge, and when Ray is healthy they will have a consistent bench scorer for the first time in the entire big 3 era. KG is playing like KG.

  8. bu says:

    This is a team effort to win. If no screens & unselfish play from his teammates, team defense by others to pressure Teague, Johnson, & Smith (later unluckly sprained knee), Pierce will hv a lot more pressure, & might as well lose the game. Look at what Dooling, Pietrus & esp Bradley did. There’s also KG’s quiet double double. Without Rondo & Allen, it’s no secret that Pierce will HAVE to play point forward, like he did during reg season when Rondo was out. The Hawks did not work hard enough to contain Pierce at the start of the game (i.e. make enough chances & dif looks to him & get him out of his spots) which helped PP regained his rythm.

    Yes, offensively, someone needs to step up to lead & carry the load, including the clutch & dagger shots. PP did, & throughout his career. And not many in the league can do this kind of thing so he’s amazing. Give his team credit due, for all of their will to win by DEFENSE. That’s ALL WILL. & can never be individual, Pierce role in game 2 was to focus on offense while play team defense & take care of the boards.

    I hope they still hv enough left in the tank & Allen comes bk for a push deep into the playoffs. The road is really tough as they’ll hv more matchup problems esp in their bigs in protecting the boards.

  9. Jimbo says:

    Truth puts himself in the upper echelon of all-timers… West, Bird, Magic, Jordan, etc…. Not only did he carry his team to a crucial away playoff win, he stuck a dagger into the heart of the Atlanta Hawks’ whole season and playoff hopes… I’d be surprised if they can recover from that… Truth knew it and that 3 was the crowning moment…. Just a pleasure to watch… Especially if you’re a Celts fan like me…. lol

    • west,bird, magic, jordan really? hes not that good

    • Peter says:

      I’m a Celtics fan, and this was an amazing performance – but I still wouldn’t put Pierce among Bird, Magic, Jordan etc in that top 10-20 all time group.

      Unquestionably a hall of famer and one of the all time greats, but not top 10.

      Top 50 though? Absolutely.

      I think the gretest All Time out of currently active players are KG, Kobe, Ducnan and Jason Kidd. The next tier would be Ray Allen, Pierce, Nowitzki, Nash.

      How come I’ve put KG above Pierce? Pierce may be a better scorer, but KG career statistics in all statistical categories combined with his legendary defensive game makes him (along with Hakeem) one of the 2 or 3 most versatile big men ever to play the game.

      Pierce hasn’t had quite that much impact at his position, but he’s not far off.

  10. Azamfirei says:

    Lakers – Celtics. That’s what we want, that’s what NBA wants. Last time before the Big 3 say good bye. LeBum will get it next year after they trade Bosh for a point guard. Probably Rondo.

    • steagle says:

      I’d love to see one last LA-Boston Finals before the greats retire. This is really their last shot, what with all these expiring contracts and mounting injuries. I can’t stand Kobe Nation or the LA crowds but for once I am pulling for them to win the west (and the C’s the east, of course) so we can renew one of the greatest rivalries in sports.

  11. K-IN-G says:

    Paul can “Tebow’ all he want, the celtics will lose to the hawks 4-3. If they can beat the hawks, there’s another young team to tire them out eve more. ALSO didn’t Tim lose his spot to Peyton!!!!! NBA finals: Heat vs. (OKC,sspurs,or Lob City)

  12. Mord says:

    THE TRUTH DONT LIEEE LETS GET IT CELTICS!

  13. Paul went HAM last night !!!

  14. NO CHANCE says:

    It doesnt matter if celtics get past round 1 or 2.It doesnt matter if its the bulls,hawks or anyone else.The Miami Heat are gunna DESTROY any eastern team that gets in their path, 2012 NBA playoff finals: MIAMI HEAT vs … either Lakers,Spurs or OKC

    • Davon says:

      damn u dumb, son……nobody remembers how C’s beat up on the Heat (with their full roster) this year……..stop smoking…..Celtics are supreme…prediction….Lakers-Celtics, dummy

  15. TTKIN says:

    Celtics are taking this series and it was never in doubt, even when Rondo’s chest was banging into Davis’ back (not to sound dirty). And Im a Laker fan ok! I hate green as though it should never have been created…but theyre still taking this series haha.

    Im rooting for them to beat the Hawks, and for them to beat the Pacers, and hopefully everyone is healthy, they MIGHT get by Miami. Better to see The Celtics win with talent and teamwork as opposed to Miami which has become of cesspool of retiring players past their primes trying to get a championship simply cuz of James and Wade (cough cough Battier, Nash (next season), Terry (next season), Miller, Ilgauskas, Turiaf, Curry, Howard…AND THATS JUST OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD).

  16. Celtics Fan Forever says:

    I am thrilled that my guys pulled it off in style last night. True professionals and a championship mentality will prevail every time. I am, however, appalled at the sports commentators who have little or no respect for Pierce’s spontaneous gesture to thank God for being able to do what he did in the game. (If it wasn’t geniune, that’s between Pierce and God.) But to describe it as an “antic” or “tebowing” makes me sick! Like Tebow invented praying. Go Celtics!

  17. Ajay says:

    Anyone who thinks the Celtics can beat the heat is crazy. Sure they beat them 3-1 in the reg season but that last game no key players on either team played. Remember last year the Celtics beat the heat 3-1 and the bulls beat the heat 3-0 and the heat beat both of these teams in 5 games. If anything the Boston squad this year is worse because they lost all their centers besides stiemsa and all the big 3 are older, and even if ray comes back he probably won’t be 100%.

    • steagle says:

      We lost an average center at best in Perkins and JO & Shaq were nowhere near 100% anyways, so I don’t count them as huge losses. What we gained were 3 offensive go-to guys in Keyon Dooling, Mikael Pietrus and Avery Bradley. Bradley is causing all sorts of problems for teams INCLUDING the Heat. No we don’t have the size anymore, but now we have the quickness and greater offensive threats that can spread the floor and isolate KG and Pierce. Teams will study the C’s and set up their defense accordingly, but trust me, it’s a harder team to defend this year than it was last year, while our defense has pretty much stayed at the same level (1st in the NBA in FG% allowed all season).

      I know people love to rip on the old beat up Celtics but they just showed you last night what they’re made of in the face of controversy.

    • Davon says:

      u sound like a hater and a girl, yo….get ur facts right b4 sending them in, man…..damn u sound ignorant….the Celtics are supreme, Ajay, and it’s gonna be the C’s against the Lakers….deep down, u KNOW it, and so does everybne else….last man standing lets u know who wins a fight, and the Celtics will be standing…..u will probably be somewhere swallowing

  18. gocharles says:

    The guy was just saying is prayers and thanks. Nothing more!! The media needs to get a life instead of reporting on irrelevant things.

    • Davon says:

      agreed, Charles….ur absolutely right, son…..PP34, leave him alone…..Celtics are supreme……Period………CLUTCH!!!!!!

  19. Celticsrck says:

    We looking old now?Hawks just cant win,they crumble in the clutch.And were @ TD Gardens for game 3,so i say Celtics in 6.

  20. Really guys? says:

    Pff…Kobe scored 38.

    • Bballer says:

      Paul Pierce also snagged 14 rebounds… whats your point?

      • Peter says:

        Kobe scored 38 against the Nuggets, and he had a lot of supporting talent to draw attention way from him.

        IIRC Atlanta is a far stronger defensive team the Denver, and with Rondo+Allen out their entire defense was focussed on stopping Pierce…but he still got 36 and 14.

    • mark steele says:

      Pierce needs to learn how to shave those patches of his face. I cant wait for Ivan to tebow on the ugly green lephechan on Friday night

  21. REALITY5 says:

    Hawks threw away a golden opportunity to be up 2-0. Now the series is very likely to be won by Cs…i think in 5 or 6 games. And with Rose-less bulls tied with philly 1-1, and neither of those 2 teams looking very good, the Cs could win round 2 also. Then it will be Celtics-Heat in conference final, and the Cs beat the Heat 3 times in april. but the Heat are playing amazingly well right now against the knicks (i hate the heat, but its true). So can the Celtics beat the Heat? If Ray comes back and is 100% i think yes, otherwise no.
    The west is a toss up between thunder, lakers, and spurs (damn you bone spurs!)

    • beantownallday says:

      Lotta good points, as for the heat thing, yes we can. You gotta look at who they are playing against. We have an entirely different team than the knicks. Ya, they got the DPOY but that doesnt mean nuthing if noone on that team can play as a TEAM yano. Knicks got swept by the heat in the reg season for that reason. They are the heat of last year, got a bunch of good players but cant mesh as one. We can and thats why we stomped em in april and although theyre playing better now, itl just make more a better beatdown if we see them. BOOYA go cs!

  22. Jason T says:

    Got his back? Rondo is a man-child that doeesn’t have the ability to be professional…

    • Bballer says:

      There are many “Man-children” in the league… count Kobe, World Peace, Barnes, and of course Bynum to the list… where the Celtics have 1 man child, the lakers is practically a man-child team after fisher was traded.

    • Davon says:

      u probably a dude who got beat up going to school, had to swallow to keep his lunch money, and never played organized ball…Rondo is the ultimate competitor, stupid, and if u knew anything about emotions u would realize we all are human and make mistakes, his was just a costly one….anyone who bets against the Boston Celtics in the clutch at TD Garden is smoking…..Celtics are supreme, dolt….

  23. C'sFan says:

    It’s remarkable just how good the Celtics still are with all that they have gone through this year. Most injury ridden team, Oldest team, Some say slowest team, But definetly the most gutsiest, grittiest and toughest team in the playoffs. In 2008 Everyone counted out the Celtics vs the Lakers, although to admit the Hawks are Pretenders not Contenders, we proved everybody wrong and ran circles around the purple and gold like a track team. As long as the Celtics play their game and share the ball we have the best guy to do so since maybe John Stockton. RAJON RONDO. By the way I loved the chest bump to the referee/ Hawks fan.

  24. Zach Gillette says:

    Hawks in 6

    • Davon says:

      u sound real stupid, son….Hawks need CPR, that’s what they need…..Celtics are supreme…..Period…..PP34, stupid

      • mark steele says:

        We hawks fans believe. No excuses like a lot of other teams. We have injuries but go to battle with what we have. Teague/Williams/Johnson will step up and take back home court. Thats a guarantee.

  25. kobe says:

    the truth is clutch..always has been ..but what do u expect from a baller from LA

  26. burningrubber says:

    With Rose OUT for the playoffs and the C’s are playing good, it might be Heat and the C’s for the Eastern Conf. Finals. Anything could happen right now with lots of injuries and guys wanting to prove something for their team. Its going to be an exciting Playoff run!

  27. Talal says:

    Well, If I was doc and josh didn’t play game 3 I would definitely keep him on the bench unless hawks played big in the TD..That will give allen more time to rehab even if he doesn’t need it

  28. Roy says:

    Once Rondo comes back at the TD garden hes dropping a triple double with 20 dimes on the Hawks!! And hopefully Allen is back to scores 20 points in 3’s while hes at it :D

    • einstein says:

      20 points in 3’s?!?!? i’m a C’s fan too, but i’m not that much of a homer. Allen probably wont even suit up. I wish you and I worked together, you’d be buying me lunch all week!!!!!!!!!!

  29. Retro Silk says:

    Great rebound from game one. Iv’e always enjoyed Pierce working fools over. Let’s double punk ‘em back in Beantown and bring Ray Ray back for some offensive devastation real soon please. Rondo… take some pointers from the Consummate Pro, You cost us game one in a two possession game with a minute to go. The bulls are sinking slowly and we already know we can handle the Heat. Looking forward to a Celtics / Lakers Championship Series!

    • Sick says:

      just keep dreaming…LOL

      • Bird33 says:

        Ok, ok..it may be a bit of a dream…but you never know…the Lakers could make it to the finals. Regardless…we’ll play whomever wins the West…but the Lakers would be our preference :-)

      • Sick says:

        maybe the Lakers but not the Celtics…haha

  30. welshes99 says:

    That fourth quarter pull up 3 by Pierce reminded me of Larry Bird, I remember how many of those he took that just broke the back of the opponent. I love those gutsy, killer shots. I’ve had an opportunity to take a few of those when I played in HS.(only made 1) but when they swish they feel great!

  31. Mike says:

    Maybe Rohdo should sit out a few more games

  32. JP says:

    God bless Paul Pierce!! The guy was a B-ballin Maniac yesterday, just like in ’08. Can’t wait for Rondo to get back though and be done with this series. Atlanta certainly is a “tough chicken to fry” but the Celtics will prevail. 4-2 Boston.

  33. DoTheRightThing says:

    Damn that journalist sound like Ray as hell.

  34. Auds says:

    Championship-caliber team with never say die mentality!!!! Celtics Hang around and grind this one out that’s what the C’s did, without their quarter back now that’s scary!!! where are all those Hawks fans!!!???

  35. adrixe says:

    Lets go Celtics!!!

  36. adrixe says:

    Let’s GO CELTICS!!